Surgical Training Using Proxy Haptics


  • Learning complex surgical tasks requires that novice surgeons collaborate with expert surgeons and a surgical team
  • To collaborate efficiently, these partners must construct a Common Frame-of-Reference (CFR)
  • The CFR is a representation of the shared situation, which is updated continuously by an information exchange between the learner and the team
  • The main goal of this project is to explore how to learn complex surgical tasks using proxy haptics

Haptic Perception Problem

  • In traditional Collaborative Virtual Environment (CVE) participants are represented as avatars that are continuously updated using 3D tracking technologies
  • In most systems, collaborative manipulations are very limited and complicated which limits the applicability of CVE for numerous training applications
  • Manipulating virtual objects with appropriate passive haptic cues could provide an enhanced sense of presence in the virtual world making the simulation feel real
  • Solving this haptic problem will revolutionize CVE by adding touch perception to any type of training applications

Proxy Haptic Concept

  • One method for adding a sense of touch to virtual objects is to use the concept of proxy haptics, where real physical props are placed around the real environment to match their virtual counterparts
  • If the physical props are co-registered with the virtual objects a compelling sense of tactile sensation can be achieved, for example, how a mannequin can be used to represent a virtual patient
  • If the mannequin is co-registered in 3D relative to the virtual user locations, one can be convinced that they are touching a real patient, especially if the tools are tracked in 3D


Research Objectives

  • Study the optimal conditions to create this haptic illusion
  • Explore how to leverage the dominance of vision when our senses are in conflict to use a limited number of physical props to provide a passive haptic sensation for a variety of virtual world objects
  • Evaluate effectiveness of proxy haptic for surgical training